advice on apple tree spraying and pruning in CT

arittenberryFebruary 4, 2009

DOes nayone have advice of minimum amount of spraying/pruning that can be done to make sure apple tree survives I do not care @ fruit production.

tight economy and local guys trying to charge 1000 a tree for all sparying/pruning! felony!

(have not been pruned in prob 2 years)

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alan haigh

Some varieties thrive in neglect- where you are some suffer anywhere from not at all to terribly from scab and or cedar apple rust, both of which are fungus that look like there name. Minimal spray to control these where you are is 2, one at petal fall and one 10 days to 2 weeks later with a mixture of Myclobutanil and Captan. If you are near heavy innoculum (red cedars) you may need an earlier spray as well or suffer a little CAR damage.

Tent caterpillar may defoliate part or even all of a tree early in the season but a healthy tree quickly recovers. There are other less likely pests, especially unlikely in minimally pruned trees, such as mites and scale so if the trees deteriate be alert.

The only way to find out what the minimum input for survival is is to stop spraying all together and find out what your pests are.

Pruning is for better fruit production and ascetics primarily though some tout the advantage of better air circulation for reducing fungus. I've seen a lot of incredibly "overgrown" apple trees that were as healthy as they were overgrown.

Don't fault the tree care guys- they are only making a living and providing one for insurance companies, mechanics, and your states bureacracy.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 12:20PM
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Are these very large trees, and are you physically unable to prune them yourself? If you have no interest in fruit production, it might be best to take the trees down completely and plant decorative trees that would not require much maintenance. Apple trees usually require some level of care to remain healthy, and if the apples are not sprayed, picked, and the drops removed and discarded, insects can build up making things worse each season.

However, before spraying with anything, it is best to know why you are doing it. Most of us spray to keep the fruit healthy, but some diseases can spread to the tree itself (i.e. apple scab, cedar apple rust), and make the tree unattractive.

Having said that, there are many old apple trees all over the country that receive virtually no pruning and spraying care and they still survive. If your local boys really are asking $1,000 per tree for their services, that truly sounds beyond the pale. If the trees are so unattractive due to neglect that they can be called ugly, and you can't handle it yourself, it may be time to consider taking them out.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 12:21PM
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thx for the thoughts...the trees actually look ok but I think are too big for me to do myself and I have no clue what I am doing.....just trying to save some money in light of the state of the world but do not want to kill the trees to save a buck.

one of them has a fungus and AHS to be worked on

prob have not been sprayed or pruned in 2 years and last yr they produced zero fruit (which is OK by me at this point)

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 1:52PM
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macarius(Z6 CT)

Not sure where you are located in CT, but if you are near Middlefield, Lyman's Orchards is offering a fruit tree pruning demonstration on February 21 & 22 at their Winter Festival. The demo is free but you have to register in advance. This will be my first time attending the demo, so i can't vouch for how helpful it might be.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lyman Orchards Winter Festival

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 3:42PM
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